The Fighting Discrimination Program of Human Rights First focuses on the violence known as hate crimes or bias crimes. Because equality is a cornerstone of human rights protection, discrimination in all its forms is a violation of human rights. Discrimination can take the form of violence generated by prejudice and hatred founded upon a person's race, ethnicity, religious belief, sexual orientation, gender, disability, age or other such factors. Through the Fighting Discrimination Program, Human Rights First seeks to combat discrimination by reversing the tide of antisemitic, anti-immigrant, and anti-Muslim violence and reducing other bias crime in North America, Europe, and the Russian Federation.
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In this effort, the Program looks at both the reality of violence driven by discrimination in each country and at two principal ways in which this violence can best be confronted.
The first is through hate crimes legislation and effective and equitable enforcement of criminal law to protect often vulnerable minorities. The Program's premise is that hate crimes should be treated as the exceptional crimes that they are and prosecuted as such, including with enhanced penalties.
Second, the fight against discrimination requires the monitoring and statistical reporting of incidents and crimes in which bias is an element – in order to provide analytical tools for policy makers and effective action to confront violence. Official anti-discrimination bodies can play a pivotal role in ensuring that monitoring occurs and effective anti-discrimination policies are then implemented.